Author: Anthony Russano (Last Updated March 26th 2019, 5:33:25 AM)

Astaxanthin is a keto-carotenoid. It belongs to a larger class of chemical compounds known as terpenes built from five carbon precursors, isopentenyl diphosphate, and dimethylallyl diphosphate.

Astaxanthin is a blood-red pigment and naturally originates in the rainwater microalgae (Haematococcus pluvialis) and the yeast fungus called Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous (also known as Phaffia). The algae undergoes a stressing via one or a combination of conditions ranging from the lack of nutrients, increased salinity, and excessive sunshine to create Astaxanthin. The species that consume this stressed freshwater microalgae—salmon, red trout, red sea bream, flamingo, crustaceans (shrimp, krill, crab, lobster and crayfish) -- reflect the pigmentation of the red-orange hues in their appearances.

Healing Properties

  • Antioxidant: Astaxanthin is the most powerful natural carotenoid antioxidant.[1]
  • Antiinflammatory: Astaxanthin decreases oxidative stress and inflammatory response in cells.[1]
  • Anticancer: Astaxanthin works together with Human serum albumin (the most abundant protein in blood plasma) to fight cancer at a cellular level.[2]
    • Antiproliferative: Astaxanthin was shown to prevent cell proliferation, Migration, And drug-resistance in human ovarian carcinoma cells.[2]
    • Astaxanthin induced apoptosis in carcinoma cells via mitochondrial apoptotic pathways.[2]
  • Renal Health:
    • Anti-fibrotic: Astaxanthin can increase peritubular capillary density (peritubular capillaries are tiny blood vessels in the renal system).[3]
      • Astaxanthin upregulates vascular endothelial growth factor and downregulates thrombospondin levels.[3]
  • Cardioprotective: Astaxanthin is beneficial for ischemic-reperfusion of clogged arteries to help restore blood flow.[1]
  • Mental Wellness: Astaxanthin supplementation improves global mood state and supports mental wellness in healthy subjects.[4]

Disease / Symptom Treatment

  • Renal Interstitial Fibrosis: Astaxanthin attenuated renal interstitial fibrosis and peritubular capillary rarefaction via inactivation of the TGF‑β1/Smad signaling pathway.[3]
  • Depression: Natural astaxanthin supplementation reduces negative mood state (depression and fatigue) and improves global mood state and thus supports mental wellness in healthy subjects.[4]
    • Significant improvements were found with Natural astaxanthin treatment for positive mood state.[4]
  • Nicotine-induced Toxicity: Astaxanthin protects the organs against the toxic effects of nicotine.[1]
    • Nicotine can cause harmful effects on the male testes potentially impacting fertility. Astaxanthin demonstrated a protective effect on these organs.[1]
    • Astaxanthin reversed the negative effects of nicotine.[1]
  • Heart Disease:
    • Heart Attack:
    • Hypertension:
    • Dyslipidemia:


  1. Study Type: Animal Study
    Title: Histopathological Analysis of Testis: Effects of Astaxanthin Treatment against Nicotine Toxicity
    Author(s): Bashir Sobhani, Sahar Roomiani, Zahra Ahmadi, Milad Ashrafizadeh
    Institution(s): Ferdowsi University of Mashhad: Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan; Tabriz University: Tabriz, East Azerbaijan;
    Publication: Arak University of Medical Sciences
    Date: Feb 2019
    Abstract: Background: Nicotine is a toxic compound in the cigarette smoke and has destructive effects on various human organs. Astaxanthin is a carotenoid with high antioxidant property. In this study, we investigated the protective effects of astaxanthin against nicotine-induced toxicity in mice testes. Methods: Forty-two inbred balb/c male mice were divided into six groups:Group 1, received 1 ml normal saline daily; Group 2, received nicotine (1.5mg/kg); Group 3, received astaxanthin (25mg/kg); Group 4, received astaxanthin (50mg/kg); Group 5, received astaxanthin (25mg/kg) plus nicotine (1.5mg/kg); and group 6, received astaxanthin (50mg/kg) plus nicotine (1.5mg/kg). After collecting testes samples, microscopic slides were prepared at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Mashhad, and the prepared slides were examined under light microscopy. Results: The histological structures of the testes were normal in the control group and those receiving astaxanthin, regardless of nicotine (groups 3, 4, 5 & 6). However, group 2 that received only nicotine, showed transformed testicular histology with severe hemorrhage. Conclusion: Based on the results, nicotine caused harmful effects on the mice testes and astaxanthin appeared to protect the organs against the toxic effects of nicotine.
    Link: Source

  2. Study Type: Human Study: In Vitro
    Title: Astaxanthin Combine With Human Serum Albumin To Abrogate Cell Proliferation, Migration, And Drug-Resistant In Human Ovarian Carcinoma SKOV3 Cells
    Author(s): Xiu-Zhen Su, Ran Chen, Cai-Bing Wang, Xi-Lin Ouyang, Yan Jiang, Ming-Yi Zhu.
    Institution(s): Youjiang Medical University for Nationalities, 98 Chengxiang Road, Baise 533000, China
    Publication: Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry
    Date: Feb 2019
    Abstract: Background: Astaxanthin (AST) shows a large range of beneficial effects together with anti-cancer and antioxidation properties. Human serum albumin (HSA) is the most abundant protein in blood plasma which plays the role of depot and transport protein for many exogenous compounds. However, whether HSA could enhance AST-induced cytotoxic effects in human ovarian cancer cells has not been examined to date. Objective: This study aims to explore the anticancer effect and the molecular mechanism of AST combine with HSA induced cytotoxicity in ovarian cancer SKOV3 cells. Method: The ovarian cancer SKOV3 cells were treated by AST combined with HSA to study the effects of cell proliferation, cell morphology, cell cycle arrest, related protein expression, nuclear transfer, cell migration, and drug-resistant. Results: Our data confirmed that AST+HSA treatment enhanced the anticancer effects of AST, arrested G1 phase cell cycle and induced apoptosis in SKOV3 cells. AST+HSA induced apoptosis via mitochondrial apoptotic pathways was related to the increased ratio of Bcl-2/Bax and activation of caspase-3. Besides, exposure of cells to AST+HSA triggered the inactivation of NF-κB and activation p53 and MAPKs signaling pathways. Furthermore, AST+HSA significantly overcome the drug-resistant and inhibited the migration of SKOV3 cells. Conclusion: AST combined treatment with HSA considerably inhibited NF-κB expression and translocation to nucleus, thereby improving the AST-induced cytotoxic effect on SKOV3 cells. These findings may provide rationale to combine AST with HSA for the treatment of ovarian cancer
    Link: Source

  3. Study Type: Animal Study
    Title: Astaxanthin ameliorates renal interstitial fibrosis and peritubular capillary rarefaction in unilateral ureteral obstruction
    Author(s): Jin Zhao Meixia Meng Jinhua Zhang Lili Li Xiaojing Zhu Li Zhang Chang Wang Ming Gao
    Institution(s): Department of Nephrology, Xi'an No. 4 Hospital, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710004, P.R. China
    Publication: Spandidos Publications: Molecular Medicine Reports
    Date: February 2019
    Abstract: Loss of peritubular capillaries is a notable feature of progressive renal interstitial fibrosis. Astaxanthin (ASX) is a natural carotenoid with various biological activities. The present study aimed to evaluate the effect of ASX on unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO)‑induced renal fibrosis in mice. For that purpose, mice were randomly divided into five treatment groups: Sham, ASX 100 mg/kg, UUO, UUO + ASX 50 mg/kg and UUO + ASX 100 mg/kg. ASX was administered to the mice for 7 or 14 days following UUO. The results demonstrated that UUO‑induced histopathological changes in the kidney tissue were prevented by ASX. Renal function was improved by ASX treatment, as evidenced by decreased blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine levels. Furthermore, the extent of renal fibrosis and collagen deposition induced by UUO was suppressed by ASX. The levels of collagen I, fibronectin and α‑smooth muscle actin were increased by UUO in mice or by transforming growth factor (TGF)‑β1 treatment in NRK‑52E cells, and were reduced by ASX administration. In addition, ASX inhibited the UUO‑induced decrease in peritubular capillary density by upregulating vascular endothelial growth factor and downregulating thrombospondin 1 levels. Inactivation of the TGF‑β1/Smad signaling pathway was involved in the anti‑fibrotic mechanism of ASX in UUO mice and TGF‑β1‑treated NRK‑52E cells. In conclusion, ASX attenuated renal interstitial fibrosis and peritubular capillary rarefaction via inactivation of the TGF‑β1/Smad signaling pathway.
    Link: Source

  4. Study Type: Human Study
    Title: Astaxanthin Supplementation Reduces Depression and Fatigue in Healthy Subjects
    Author(s): Shawn Talbott, Don Hantla, Bob Capelli, Lixin Ding, Yanmei Li and Christian Artaria
    Institution(s): EQQIL, Draper, UT, USA Treehouse Athletic Club, Draper, UT, USA, Algae Health Sciences, Irvine, CA, USA North America, Irvine, California, USA, Beijing, China, Europe, Lugano, Switzerland
    Publication: EC Nutrition
    Date: January 2019
    Abstract: Natural Astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae (NAX) has been researched in hundreds of clinical trials, pre-clinical animal studies and in-vitro surveys for various bioactive properties that indicate potential preventive and therapeutic health benefits. Among the most widely-researched properties of astaxanthin in the literature are broad-spectrum anti-inflammato-ry activity and powerful antioxidant capacity. In addition, both human and animal research have revealed a wide range of potential benefits for neurological and eye health, cardiovascular function, exercise endurance, enhancement of the immune response and skin health. This study’s goal was to explore the effects of a daily dose of 12 mg per day of NAX on psychological mood state in healthy subjects.
    Link: Source